MIDWAY - Burdens Lost EP [Review]

Genre: Melodic Hardcore
Label: Self-released
Released: February 10th, 2012
Reviewer: Tristan French

Midway are Dubai’s premiere melodic hardcore crew, and its safe to say that these guys have been enjoying quite a run of dominance over the past few years, and this EP marks the start of a giant push by the band. No mistake, these guys are out for blood and “Burdens Lost” is honestly one of the best releases that I’ve heard to come out of the Middle East recently.

The EP opens with the first track released from it, the ambient yet hard hitting “Lights.” Honestly, this song sounds like somebody took TesseracT and The Ghost Inside and merged them into the perfect melodic hardcore sound. Resounding chords provide the almost calming air at first, whilst the drums remain as quiet as possible. However, this is just calm before the storm, as the track then launches into an awesomely heavy breakdown, as all instruments are turned up to full throttle. This track is full of surprises as tempo changes seem to come at listeners in surprise, giving drummer Mychal Martinez a chance to demonstrate his clear precision as well as his clear mastery of his craft, driving the song forward, one beat at a time. This song also showcases frontman Bruno Solonen’s epicly raw vocals, encapsulating his clear frustration and anger, symbolised mainly through the lyric “These anchors won’t keep me.” This song is sure to have heads banging from start-t0-finish, and it’s only the first track!

After the fadeout of “Lights” we are immediately thrown into the maelstrom as the EP’s title track “Burdens Lost” takes the spotlight. Martinez immediately speeds things up with Solonen following suit, contributing towards the barrage of sound. In short, this is the EP’s “stand up and fight” song. This track is the chance of guitarists George Hughes and Joel Reardon to display their riffing prowess, prominently display their abilities to keep precision during such regular time changes! Solonen’s lower growls are also featured here, and let me tell you they were shockingly awesome (I’d tell you where they are, but trust me, you’ll know them when you hear them). This track is a future mosh inducer for sure, open the floors up!

Following the title track is the mid tempoed monster “Burning Bridges.” If any song symbolises the melodic hardcore genre, then this is it! The assault provided by guitars and drums alike is nothing but a display of sheer brutality, and an excitement causer for sure! Probably one of the most interesting moments of the track are Hughes’ vocals. Although not as deep as Solonen’s they are equally as brutal with clear resentment and pent up frustration finally being let loose. A clear rapport between the two has clearly been built, and as you’ll hear, it works extremely well. The tempo once again shifts into an awesome breakdown, receiving a build-up to end all build-ups, this breakdown is clearly the angriest on the EP. I wouldn’t be surprised if there were a few fists thrown during its duration.

We come to the conclusion of a short yet epic EP, as the band stated “It’ll only be 4 tracks, but 4 tracks of awesome!” , and you can clearly tell that they weren’t wrong. Opening with Solonen growling with all his might “RELEASE THE KRAKEN!” followed by one of the sludgiest breakdowns I’ve ever heard. This track is the one for surprises, and tempo changes and strange tempos begin to appear, clearly demonstrating the band’s time keeping skills. Remember those low growls I was talking about? Well they get even lower here! Seriously, they make George Fisher’s look high. After releasing the Kraken, the band erupt into a unusual yet apt Meshuggah-esque time change, which’ll be good news to you djent fans out there. Ending how it started, the band enter one last breakdown before speeding up to the mid, leading into the EP’s ambient outro, ending how they began.

Basically, you should definitely download this and give it a listen if you haven’t done so already. It’s a whirpool of originality, brutality and serves as proof that these guys are ready for the big time. I’m rating this EP an 8/10, almost purely based around the fact that with just 4 songs, Midway have made their stamp. For these guys, the only way now is up!

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